Le Baron

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  1. Oh...a revived topic. I must confess I'm not really so bothered about high-end hi-fi equipment these days. The best I had was an old Bang & Olufsen system I bought second-hand, long gone. Right now I have a Marantz TT170 running through a rather middling Sansui amp. This is just to enable me to play vinyl when I want to and shuts away in a cabinet (repurposed sewing machine cabinet). I can almost hear folk vomiting. With a good pair of headphones I'm often happy to listen to digital reproduction for most listening. I studied classical trumpet w/piano many moons ago. Played in youth orchestras and did a summer stint in the orchestra pit of a ballet theatre and some other musical theatre. To be honest even though I care about sound reproduction, that job was for the sound engineers and I was more bothered about protecting my hearing and trying to sight read in fairly poor light.
  2. Le Baron

    Easy listening

    This is a fantastic album. Sadly my copy was effectively stolen by my ex-wife ('Don't worry dear....I'll sort out our records into two boxes....). Dionne's voice is like an angel. For other easy listening I usually go for bossa nova or vaguely latin like Cal Tjader or George Shearing's excellent latin album from the 50s, I've forgotten the title. His guitarist in that band was Toots Thielemans. I also have a bizarre album of easy listening music from 1960s Soviet Union.
  3. It lends itself well to accordion. I saw a trio do this in front of Cologne cathedral over a decade ago. There was a bit of fad of accordionists doing the 4 Seasons around European cities. Our fellow Milan above doesn't look like he's pulling the bellows all that much. Could he be miming to his own performance for the video?
  4. I listened to 'Winter' on that video, because whatever the performance it's still excellent. In truth the bigger the string section, the more I like it.
  5. I very much agree with what you set out above. There's nothing worse than the Reader's Digest type regurgitations. The notion of this music as merely 'relaxation music' has made my blood boil for years. Once when I brought my ex-girlfriend here to eat, she asked me to put on some music and suggested 'classical'. So I put on the furioso from Alberto Ginastera's 2nd quartet, which I'd been listening to that week. But she made me turn it off and said it was upsetting her. Clearly I was meant to put on Mozart (whom I also like very much).
  6. There is one addition worth making...well perhaps it's of less interest to others. I used to dislike Bruckner (and Wagner) intensely, I mean for years. Then 20 years later I have three of his symphonies on constant rotation! Other people I knew praised Bruckner to the skies, whereas me, being into French fin-de-siècle and early modernist stuff, thought it was just giant, exhausting twaddle. This is why I would find it difficult to offer advice to people about what they should listen to. Klassik's suggestion about using YouTube as a tool for listening is good. I listen via youtube (despite having CDs/vinyl) and it throws up some real gems. Makes the process of discovery very painless.
  7. Excellent summary. The point about Bernie Sanders is important. There is often a view that if you didn't take power, you lost. But we've seen people taking office, but not taking power because they've handed it to corporate entities. Or they are corporate entities. Bernie has galvanised a movement of people sick and tired of utter lies.
  8. There really isn't any meaningful alternative being offered by Starmer. Being better than Johnson & co is not hard. I mean compared to Quasimodo I'm a male model, but what does that really say? What Starmer needs to do is abandon this fake managerial approach of being what Tony Benn called 'weathercocks' i.e. people who move with the wind and don;t seem to actually have any recognisable positions. That at least was one of Thatcher's admirable qualities. You know what you're for or against and it informs how you analyse the rest of their policy. I agree that some people will vote Labour because they always have done/never vote Tory/feel betrayed/... This is what has always bolstered the two parties, and it would be naive of me to assume every voter has performed a full pre-vote analysis, including myself. What I don't like is how it is abused. Blair abused it. That said I maintain that they can put forward central policy and stick to it and carry on repeating it right up to the election adding more and more detail. Making sure to demolish objections long before the whirlwind of the GE weeks. There's nothing they can put forward which they can't implement.
  9. These are all very fair points. I don't see a great divide of basic views here. I would however draw a sharp divide between Labour policy pre- and post-Callaghan. Labour at that point hadn't quite realised that they were no longer constrained by a gold standard (abolished by Nixon in 1971) and let themselves be both blackmailed by the IMF and floated along with Friedmanism. I will always maintain that that IMF business was the main cause of the misery of 1978/79. Brown's gold sales were just poor management; he wasn't what he thought. Though the actual ownership of gold is not that important in a modern fiat economy, it doesn't back the currency. Their turn to adopting the oppositions basic policy has destroyed Labour's credibility.
  10. I wouldn't say the job is easy, but it does have known steps. Certain policy directions are unaffected by general circumstances which are always changing. People need to know there is an alternative or it feeds the very concept of this thread: that they are all basically the same. The Tories will always attack the opposition's policy (and vice-versa), it is Starmer's job to forcefully present and defend it with conviction. There's little doubt that the people who swelled the party from 2015 will not vote for Blairism, because the shift from it is what motivated them in the first place. A missed trick for Labour has been to present a solid Brexit alternative. They could have been setting out for voters how total control of fiscal tools (which will appeal to the 'taking back control' crowd) can eliminate the miserable austerity everyone has suffered. To announce a job guarantee scheme linked to re-provisioning public services, dilapidated infrastructure and green energy/environmental management. It would hammer the Tories' policy of mere expansion of bank reserves (QE) which is going into corporate pockets and the NAIRU unemployment policy leaving people on that crazy universal credit disaster. Starmer is playing it too safe, he needs to step up and say that the standard approach is broken and failed.
  11. It's a bit late near a GE. People need time to become properly accustomed. You need to know what to support. A lot of people have cancelled direct debits and left the Labour Party. If he wants to get them back he'll need to state his positions. It may mean some will stay away, but that's how it is. Pumping out policy near a GE is what causes all that noisy media circus with interview battles where they ask daft questions about 'costing'. This just overloads the voter in a short period before an election. I haven't seen a single concrete policy statement from Starmer. Acting as some kind of managerial auditor to whatever policy the government is carrying out is not enough.
  12. Unfortunately for Starmer, he has publicly contradicted his positions & also made some terrible decisions as head of public prosecutions at the CPS. He is recorded as saying that a 2nd ref was a no-go, then led and pushed hard for the disastrous 'people's vote'. The fallout for this was heaped on Corbyn. True enough that Corbyn's 'bad habit' of not being Machiavellian enough, reappointing minsters like Tom Watson and assuming his ministers will be honest and loyal, never served him. If that is what he is to be condemned for, it shines a very bad light on politics. He is old school and doesn't believe the leader should be a dictator, but when your (shadow) cabinet is stabbing you in the back at every turn... My complaint about Starmer is he has proffered not a shred of policy. The argument emanating from the loyal CLPs has been that it's too early. This is nonsense. You put your policy out loud and clear, put your stamp on it, so that if the opposite party co-opts it this will be evident. As yet he's merely had his woefully incompetent shad-chancellor talking gibberish in a one-hour statement. These people are Blairites, does anyone really want that again?
  13. Unaccountable? That strikes me as entirely the wrong word. That a government would not totally suppress its citizens' voices in the style of e.g. Russia or China, is hardly a clear sign of democratic debate. Right now there are near unbridgeable chasms between groups of people because of very heavy disinformation campaigns. When you have that, you don't need to go about dropping nerve agent into people's food to stop them. There are some politicians with integrity and not everything a politician does is played out around the centres of power, but their reach is limited by those power centres. This is why they sometimes disappoint, not because they are all necessarily bad people.
  14. Not all extremists, but among that 19 million many thoroughly misguided as to why those particular Tories (plus the entryists from UKIP etc) gunned for that Brexit. To give balance I also think a goodly number of dedicated remainers have a completely naive and rose-tinted view of the EU, especially economically. I live in mainland Europe so politically/socially Brexit is a disaster for me. But I have long been a critic of EU economic policy. However, what is EU economic policy? It is exactly the same neoliberalism Thatcher wheeled out (total deregulation of capital mobility; NAIRU approach to unemployment - a flawed theory which trades misery & death for so-called inflation control; ever less public expenditure), which is why she loved the EU's main architect Jacques Delors so much. The EU economic approach has put the priorities of capital and corporations above any of the needs of citizens and serves a particular group: highly mobile professionals with financial freedom. Its idealism has taken good ideas like labour mobility (because its good to bring people to places where there is work & also to bring workers to places that need industry/services) and turned them into a nightmare where everything is sucked out of certain communities at the expense of others. The Euro is an obvious failure, it's simply impossible to have one central bank making decisions about very different national economies and setting idiotic rules about fixed tiny deficits which blocks fiscal expansion in times of demand collapse. However, this is also roughly the same methodology everywhere. Promoted by the IMF/World Bank among others and driven by power blocs like the U.S. EU. including the UK as part of it. This is why Brexit is really a sham and especially so under the mendacious Tories. The UK has currency sovereignty and even had it as an EU member. It also had no opt-in to the EU's growth and stability pact and so during Thatcher, Major, Blair, Cameron, May and now this blonde fool they could have been doing everything in their power to alleviate the misery of the left-behind in areas who fell for the bald lie that economic misery in the 'red wall' areas was "all because of Brussels". Let's be clear, many of these people have been pursuing EU withdrawal for a very long time. As far back as the late James Goldsmith who spent a career as an asset-stripper promoting all the tenets of monetarism, neoliberalism, privatisation... then saw how destructive its powerful personification was in the EU. The red-turned-blue wall have had a very hard lesson about how a Tory Brexit govt is not going to save it from economic austerity, which was the very reason it has been stagnant for about 40 years. Anyone can read Rory Stewart's vote record on https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24964/rory_stewart/penrith_and_the_border/votes. It's compiled from HoC records. It's not all that different from most Tory voting records.
  15. I've never heard of 'infra dig' before. It's not the reason I'm not a Karajan fan, it's because he's vastly overrated and reached the point where he was standing motionless on the conductor's podium, eyes closed (probably asleep) giving a twitch of a finger now and again. And all his fans filled in the yawning gap with fawning commentary about how he had by then reached conducting nirvana and could almost telepathically control the orchestra (after having 'broke' them in rehearsal). It's pretty ludicrous. It's true he had a big hand in bringing forward orchestra recording technique in the 1950s, but he also played a part in creating what became overproduced, bland soundscapes. He is a standard go-to name, whilst there are/were dozens of equally good conductors. Handel's keyboard sonatas are hardly 'highly esoteric'. They're meat-n-veg and a lot more accessible than e.g. Bach's WTC or Beethoven's keyboard sonatas. We played them at school. The problem of starting the story at Beethoven or graduating from Mozart to 'more serious' Beethoven has long been a problem in classical music. It's a position widely held on another large classical music forum populated by people who make a mortuary seem like a busy train station. In general I would say to anyone coming to classical music: listen to absolutely anything that takes your fancy. If it's Vivaldi, good. If it's Schoenberg, good. If it happens to be Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf, good. I'd never do what the folks at that place do, shoving everyone into Beethoven's or Schubert and romantic orchestral Leviathans as a definition of what it means to be properly 'into classical music'.